“You want to know about Kubu? Of course, you already know that he’s the smartest detective in Botswana. I’m sure you don’t want me to talk about that. You also know he’s the biggest detective in Botswana. He just can’t resist food. He says an active mind needs nutrition. And since his work is cerebral, he needs to eat if he’s to do his job successfully. Or so he says.
“Of course, that’s just a rationalization. If he lost his mind, he’d still love to eat. I’ve tried so hard to get him on a diet, but it doesn’t work. He thinks I don’t know that he eats the salad I give him for lunch, then goes out for the real meal. Then he comes home and tells me how much he enjoyed the salad for lunch, but forgets about the real meal. I worry sometimes that he’s going to have a heart attack.
“He refuses to exercise – says that it is too hard on the body. Of course’s he’s right. His body is soft; hasn’t had any exercise since he was a child. What would I do if he died? He’s the love of my life, and a great father, even though he works long hours. Tumi and Nono adore him – he’s always paying attention to them, and teasing them. If he were to die, I’d be devastated.
“But you didn’t ask me about Kubu to hear about food and eating, or love, did you? You want to find out who the real Kubu is.
“He is different. That’s for sure. Unlike most Batswana men, he really believes in equality of the sexes, in providing everyone an opportunity to advance, and he can’t stand prejudice, especially against those less fortunate – like the Bushmen, or women. He’ll talk your ear off if he gets started on those topics. It’s really quite wonderful to hear him. He believes in all these things. He secretly believes he is a true New Age man. A man who has overcome the halter of traditional beliefs; a man who has embraced the modern world.
“But, to tell the truth, Kubu, the New Age man, exists only in his head. It drives me silly sometimes.
“Are you going to interview him too? If so, ask him how many meals he’s cooked, how many times he’s fed our dog, Ilia, Ask him how often he does the grocery shopping or washes the clothes. I’d be very interested in what he tells you.
“Have you spoken to Detective Khama, Samantha Khama? She was the first female detective at the CID. I’ve got to know her quite well, and she’s told me how Kubu told her to take things slowly at first, to let her colleagues get to know her. She said he told her not to rock the boat. She says she was bitterly disappointed because he had such a good reputation.
“I don’t think he was looking down on her, and I’m sure he’d say he was looking out for her, not demeaning her. From what I hear, she gave him a piece of her mind. And he changed – he realized how his advice must have looked to her. Now he’s her biggest supporter, and she’s helped him a lot too. To see his own faults.
“Nobody can really escape the lessons learned as a child. And Kubu’s parents were very conservative – in a supportive way. His father was a traditional healer, greatly respected, and his mother was, well, just a loving mother who always thought that the ways of the past were the best. Obviously Kubu is going to carry a lot of that with him. He can’t avoid it. But he doesn’t see it all the time and lapses into a very traditional set of behaviors, while professing to be a modern man.
“But, to be fair, his best ideas come when he’s doing nothing. He hates to be busy physically. Says it interferes with his brain. Feet up, glass of wine in hand, thinking. That’s my Kubu.”
You can read more about Joy in A Death in the Family, the fifth book in the “Detective Kubu” mystery series, published by Minotaur. The first book in the series is A Carrion Death.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on Friday, November 6 for your chance to win a print copy of A Death in the Family. (US entries only, please.) Good luck everyone!
About the author
Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, both South Africans by birth. Both have been professors and have worked in business, Sears in South Africa and Trollip in the USA. Their mystery novels, featuring Detective Kubu, are set in Botswana. The third mystery – Death of the Mantis, involving the Bushmen of the Kalahari – won a 2012 Barry Award and was an Edgar finalist. Their fourth mystery, Deadly Harvest, was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers award. A Death In The Family was released on October 27, 2015.